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Sunni Arab MP Osama al-Nujaifi named Iraqi parliament speaker

Sunni Arab lawmaker Osama al-Nujaifi was on Thursday elected speaker of parliament, a crucial first step in ending the eight-month-long impasse of no new Iraqi government since elections in March.

Nujaifi, the only candidate to step forward, won 227 votes out of the 295 MPs present, interim Speaker Fuad Massum said. A further 30 MPs did not attend the session.

"Osama al-Nujaifi was elected with 227 votes for, out of 295 who attended this session," Massum said in the Council of Representatives.

Nujaifi, 54, is a member of the Iraqiya bloc led by ex-Premier Iyad Allawi which drew most of its support from Sunni areas of the country. He is also the brother of Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of the northern Nineveh province.

A former industry minister in 2005, Nujaifi completed a degree in electrical engineering from Mosul University in northern Iraq in 1978, and worked in various positions in the Iraqi government's electricity ministry for 12 years.

In 1992, he established his own company, and eventually ran for parliament in 2005 in the first elections held in Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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